How to take a stand against workplace bullying

Jul 10, 2019

Addressing workplace bullying head-on can be overwhelming and terrifying, but it’s not impossible.

A recent article in Forbes reported that every day someone is being bullied at work.

Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards an employee, that creates a risk to health and safety. In an office setting this behaviour isn’t always obvious and can come across in the form of small, passive comments or actions that build up over time.

 “Workplace bullying not only impacts one's happiness but injures their health, productivity and self-confidence leaving victims feeling stuck and powerless,” – Forbes.

In a survey of employees that left their workplace in the first 12 months, 62 percent stated that it was due to hostile working environments.

So, what can you do to help prevent or take a stand against bullying?

Tips for employees

Everyone has a role to play when it comes to spotting and calling out inappropriate behaviour. As an employee you can do this by:

  • supporting your workmates – check in with your colleagues and let them know you’re there to help
  • showing respect and courtesy – being respectful of others helps create a more positive environment
  • speaking up against bullying (if you feel comfortable) – pull up anyone being disrespectful in the workplace
  • acting appropriately – understand your organisation’s expectations and lead by example.

If you are being bullied or have witnessed bullying in your workplace, there are many steps you can take to resolve the situation. See our bullying information for employees page for more details.

Tips for managers

The most effective way to stamp out bullying is to stop it before it starts. This means creating a strong, consistent approach to prevent inappropriate behaviour from escalating, and a positive, respectful work culture where bullying is not tolerated. You can help by:

  • being alert – look for risks and signs of bullying such as increased absences or low staff morale
  • identifying and acting on bullying early – respond quickly and effectively to show bullying isn’t tolerated
  • managing workplace stress – ensure your employees understand their roles and have the appropriate skills to do their job to reduce issues that could lead to bullying
  • seeking training and development – look for ways you can develop productive, respectful workplace relationships in your role.

For more information on what to do if you have witnessed or have been accused of bullying, see our information for managers or employers.


Man talking harshly to woman at work

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